Pasta Around the Clock

MTPasta i Basta features an educational display for the pasta novice.
Pasta i Basta definitely looks set to succeed. For starters, it is a creation of the restaurateurs behind such popular spots as the Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie, Ogni and Dantes. Furthermore, its location is prime -- on Sretensky Bulvar right by the fashionable Chistiye Prudy neighborhood.

The restaurant already draws a crowd, and the place has a warm, vibrant atmosphere, even on a Sunday evening. The interior is fairly eclectic, with a mix of classical furnishings such as dark-wood cabinets and modern touches like the lampshades that look as if they came from the classic silent Soviet sci-fi film Aelita. The most interesting design element is the numerous frames hung high on the walls, each depicting a different variety of pasta.

Given the name, its not surprising that Pasta i Basta has a focus on pasta. There are 20 varieties, not counting the three lasagna (chicken, Bolognese and eggplant -- all 350 rubles) or the three ravioli (veal and mushroom -- 500 rubles, monkfish -- 850 rubles, and buckwheat tortellini with spinach and Parmesan -- 350 rubles). Of the 20 other sorts of pasta dishes, the least expensive start at 300 rubles for spaghetti with garlic, chili and parsley, penne al arrabiata or the Soviet classic, "naval style" macaroni. The priciest pasta is the fettuccine with winter truffle at 1,200 rubles. From noon to 5 p.m. daily, there is a two-for-one deal offered on all pasta.

The salads and starters section is fairly straightforward, with such dishes as carpaccio (octopus -- 550 rubles, beef -- 450 rubles, and salmon -- 400 rubles) and a chicken Caesar salad (450 rubles).

As is increasingly popular, the menu comes with symbols -- in Pasta i Basta's case, a little carrot to indicate vegetarian-friendly. A small breakfast menu is available from 5 a.m. to noon and a kids entertainment program is offered noon to 6 p.m. on weekends.

Wine starts at 150 rubles a glass of either red or white, while draft beer is limited to Heineken at 170 rubles a half-liter.

Pasta i Basta: 4 Sretensky Bulvar, 624-5252, 24 hours, M. Chistiye Prudy.